Saving Exoskeletons

julesaussies

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
Joined
Apr 15, 2007
Messages
577
i just came home to find my female N. chromatus on her back preparing to molt!! {D i thought she would molt any day and i'm relieved she didn't molt while i was away last week.

A friend of mine - probably my very best friend as she entertains me by allowing me to talk T's way too much... - wants an exoskeleton. As much as i would love to keep this one myself since its a big one and more colorful than most i've had so far, i want to surprise her with it.

In the past when i had large exoskeletons i noticed that they dried kind of bunched up and not natural looking. Would it work to just use some straight pins to carefully pin the ends of the legs to a cork board while it is drying or will they just rip out and damage the exoskeleton? If this idea isn't worth trying is there any other way to save skins and have them look good?

Thanks so much! My friend will love it.
 

Talkenlate04

ArachnoGod
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Feb 13, 2006
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8,662
If you pull it when its fresh you can pose it anyway you want to. I do that with one of my Smithis. I make sure I catch every molt. I watch her like a hawk and when she is done I take the molt and spread it out. I have every molt since she was a .5" slings in a shadow box pinned in. It's cool to see her growth. From sling to mother in 3 1/2 years. Ill snap a picture later when I get home.

And if for some reason you fall asleep and miss the molt and wake up to a mangled mess you can drip some rubbing alcohol on the skin and that will soften it back up so you can pose it how you want to.
 

Sheazy

Arachnoknight
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Apr 19, 2007
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If you pull it when its fresh you can pose it anyway you want to. I do that with one of my Smithis. I make sure I catch every molt. I watch her like a hawk and when she is done I take the molt and spread it out. I have every molt since she was a .5" slings in a shadow box pinned in. It's cool to see her growth.
I am doing the same thing with my GBB. The last one I got was so fresh, it was way more pliable than I thought. Posed it, and stuck in a deli cup to dry so it wouldn't be disturbed. I can't wait to get several more and have something cool to display and see the sequential size increases.
 

P. Novak

ArachnoGod
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Sep 12, 2005
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Just pull the exoskeleton asap and then position it to how you want it and let it dry by leaving it on the desk and then pinning or pin it and let it dry. If you don't catch the molt when it's soggy and wet just pull it out and wet it with either water or water and soap and then position it the way you want. Both work. I just did that to my H.maculata shedding. Good luck!
 

Talkenlate04

ArachnoGod
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Feb 13, 2006
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And this is what my somewhat finished product looks like. Till she molts again at least.
 

treeweta

Arachnobaron
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Jan 15, 2006
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362
talkenlate, a nice set of skins, ive got the last 10 or so of my smithi skins (shes almost 20 years!) i wish id been more careful and kept them all, i had her since she was a second instar! 10 years ago she was a 'normal' size, about 5 inches, since then shes got to 7 inches and gets a tiny bit bigger with each moult!

Ive found that the best time to set the skin is after the moult of course BUT you have to be careful not to make the soft spider scared and run. If the skin is a much more than 12 hours old it will start to set, you can soften very easily by putting in a plastic box with wet tissue in the bottom, leave it a few days and it will be nice and soft although not quite as relaxed as when fresh. tHis can be done to reset even old skins and infact i softened my old T skins to bring them into the USA without them breaking on the journey. i put the soft skins in plastic bags all curled up and were perfect upon arrival and then reset and now are on display good as new!

Oh and theres no need to pin through the legs, just pin at the side of the legs in pairs and they will hold them in position. Sometimes i put a small coin on the carapace so it doesnt curl as it dries.
 

kyrga

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
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Mar 24, 2007
Messages
321
Nice display, talkenlate! I get the feeling I'm going to have to do something like that... my slings both just molted for the first time in my care, and I managed to snag one of the skins while it was still fresh. It's in a small vial now, I let it dry as is pretty much, but it's held its shape well. I just can't bring myself to through it out.
 

julesaussies

Arachnobaron
Old Timer
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Apr 15, 2007
Messages
577
Awesome display Ryan. Hmmm... i might just have to pick a T and borrow your cool idea! :cool:

Thanks everyone for your advice. i was lucky to have the opportunity to remove the exo very fresh without disturbing my T and have it posed to dry. This big girl turned back over and started grooming herself pretty fast. i obviously won't move her or feed her for a week or so. However, compared to my smaller OBT this big N. chromatus is recovering much faster. Perhaps because she has been well cared for and i received the OBT very dehydrated not all that long before her molt??

i just noticed my other MF OBT has thickened her web to the point i can't see through it just as my first one did before molting. i've got T's molting like crazy and i love it. Perfect timing for my OBT girls since they just got a freshly molted boyfriend who arrived last week!! :D
 
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